28 January 2013

"... an occasional leopard being included in the bag."

In the June 1988 issue of Veld & Flora there is an article that Dick Geary Cook dug out of the archives, supposedly written by R.H. Compton, entitled "Old landmarks at Kirstenbosch". This photo shows the Eksteen-Cloete home "on the site of the present teahouse" (now sadly no longer and looking rather desolate as the Marquee Lawn).The property had been bought in 1823 by Mr D G Eksteen, who "built a pleasing homestead under thatch with adjoining slave-quarters". Henry Cloete, who married D G Eksteen's daughter, Anna, then acquired the property. "A vineyard was planted on the site now occupied by the Succulent Rockery and the Upper Economic ground, part of the Silver Tree forest and Van Riebeeck's Hedge being demolished for this purpose." (The vines did not seem to have been too successful and the farm was mostly used to fatten pigs on acorns from the oak trees.) The Cloete-Eksteen "traditional Cape hospitality" was legendary, and many stories exist of "pleasant parties enjoyed by the young people who drove to the farm from Constantia and Wynberg. "Buck were plentiful on the mountain slopes at that time and shooting parties were enjoyed by the neighbours, an occasional leopard being included in the bag."
How sad!

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